Problem solving plays an essential role in all scientific disciplines, and solving problems can reveal essential concepts that underlie those disciplines. Thus, problem solving serves both as a common tool and desired outcome in many science classes. Research on teaching problem solving offers principles for instruction that are guided by learning theories. This essay describes an online, evidence-based teaching guide (https://lse.ascb.org/ evidence-based-teaching-guides/problem-solving) intended to guide instructors in the use of these principles. The guide describes the theoretical underpinnings of problem-solving research and instructional choices that can place instruction before problem solving (e.g., peer-led team learning and worked examples) or problem solving before instruction (e.g., process-oriented guided inquiry learning, contrasting cases, and productive failure). Finally, the guide describes assessment choices that help instructors consider alternative outcomes for problem-solving instruction. Each of these sections consists of key points that can be gleaned from the literature as well as summaries and links to articles that inform these points. The guide also includes an instructor checklist that offers a concise summary of key points with actionable steps to direct instructors as they develop and refine their problem-solving instruction.
CBE Life Sci Educ (CBE life sciences education)
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